Deptford High Street

astrasser

This little book is the outcome of a 18-month project (2009-2011), which aimed at utilising photographic research to meet local people, gain local knowledge and create my sense of belonging to the area I had just moved to. I photographed and spoke to shopkeepers, customers and residents on the High Street, asking them to share their experiences of this street and Deptford in general. Lived experience is deeply embedded in history; even if interpretations are subjective, as psychological truths these accounts are just as important as factually reliable accounts. Story-telling reduces the gulf between the researcher and participants, which is necessary in building relationships with the people whose history is being talked about. In the pursuit of more uninhibited responses, participants were assured that comments would remain anonymous and that images would not correspond to the comments. Through these stories of lived experiences I gained a better understanding of the social and political history of Deptford and how different people perceive the changes taking place in the area. This project formed the basis of lasting friendships and relationships and led to other projects in the local area which can be viewed on my website (anitastrasser.com). The project was also a precursor to Deptford is Changing: a creative exploration of the impact of gentrification, a book I published in 2020. The book is available for reading in Deptford Lounge, West Greenwich Library, Goldsmiths Library and Special Collections.

DEPTFORD HIGH STREET

Anita Strasser



Deptford High Street

Anita Strasser


© 2010-2011 Anita Strasser.

The author retains sole copyright to the photos in this book.


Photography, like any artistic practice, is an attempt to put meaning to the world. It

comes in a multitude of forms but two stand out-the subconscious click (don't think;

snap; move on) and the embedded graft (come in, take your coat off, stay awhile). The

subconscious click is nothing of the sort; we always come to a space with a prepared and

preferring mind and most often we come home having done what we've always done and

got what we've always got. The embedded graft takes of spaces something more reflective;

and more so if the space is dynamic.

Photographing a society in moments of revolutionary change challenges the

photographer. Deptford isn't Cairo but it is within the same continuum of history. Anita

Strasser came to it in a pivotal moment of its life, chose to stay and made herself an agent

within it. Communities that are threatened seek confirming moments that give

communal solidity to their singular anxiety. The unintended consequence of The

Deptford High Street Project has been to offer a community a reflection of fellowship.

More than a mirror of disparate, isolated individuals, the Project offers a document of a

vibrant unity.

The work that has emerged from the Project reflects the photographer as a comrade,

giving to the street a solidarity and engagement that documents the daily task of staying

alive in order to stay still when the order of the day is to give way. Deptford has a history

of resistance; it now has its chronicler.

John Levett

Visiting Fellow, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Organizer, The London Villages Project



Deptford High Street is the outcome of an 18-month project (2009-2011), which

aimed at utilising photographic research to meet local people, gain local knowledge

and to embed myself into the area I had just moved to. Understanding the historical,

social and political make-up of the neighbourhood where I live and knowing its

inhabitants has always been important to me. Photography is a means of establishing

contact, asking about people’s lives and trying to understand the various perspectives

on a particular area. Repeated encounters with different people, observing social

interactions and making myself known to locals slowly creates trust and familiarity.

This process of familiarisation and the collecting of stories also raises my awareness of

problems in an area (often historical and political issues) which, in turn, help me

develop an understanding of a place. It is this knowledge that then directs many of the

questions I ask. I take the photos some time during this investigatory period, some

time when I feel enough trust has been established and that the action of taking a

photo is not perceived as intrusive. We compose the shot together, with the

participant guiding the framing.

With the High Street being a focal point of Deptford, I photographed and spoke to

shopkeepers, customers and residents there, including a wide range of ages, ethnicities

and socio-economic backgrounds. I asked them to share their experiences of this

street and Deptford in general. Storytelling reduces the gulf between the

photographer / researcher and participants, which is necessary in building

relationships with the people whose history is being talked about. To encourage more

uninhibited responses when describing their lived experience of Deptford, the

comments were left anonymous and do not correspond to the images in the book.

The responses are not to be read at face value, as facts or as complete knowledge; they

are subjective perspectives of life in Deptford, but they can provide insight into how

some people experience the area, touching on a variety of themes such as regeneration

and


gentrification, multiculturalism, community and others. Lived experience is deeply

embedded in history; even if interpretations are subjective and often ill-informed, as

psychological “truths”, these accounts are just as important as “factually reliable”

accounts and need engaging with. These accounts of lived experiences formed the

basis of subsequent research into Deptford, trying to make sense of these accounts

which, in this project, where left to stand alone. Further projects and extensive

historical and sociological research gave me a better understanding of the social and

political history of Deptford and how/why different people perceive the changes

taking place in the area. Eventually, I decided to do a PhD at Goldsmiths, researching

the gentrification of Deptford with a participatory arts project called Deptford is

Changing: a creative exploration of the impact of gentrification, which was published

as a book in 2020 (also available on yumpu).

The photographs are the outcome of an immersive practice, which attempts to

counteract the widespread practice of Street Photography, where photographers

refrain from any kind of engagement with their subjects and have full power over how

people are (mis)represented in images. Through ongoing dialogue with my subjects

during the whole research process, participants were given shared power in

representing themselves and their community. All images were shared, discussed and

handed to participants. Overall, the project resulted in lasting friendships,

connections and other projects in the local area, which can be viewed on my website

(anitastrasser.com). The project has been exhibited in The Greenwich Gallery (2010),

St Nicholas Church (2010) and The Deptford Lounge (2014).

The Deptford High Street book is available for reading in Deptford Lounge, West

Greenwich Library, Goldsmiths Library and Special Collections.

Anita Strasser


The texts do not necessarily correlate with the order of the images.

The views expressed in the following pages do not necessarily reflect my own opinions.



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Net Café/ Baba Food & Wine


Gallop Café


In the 1960s Deptford was an affluent area with lots of factories, where millionaires

and workers lived together. Education wasn't so important because you knew you'd

get a job. I'll tell you why you like it here: because people communicate with each

other. The feeling of community is disappearing though because the old generation

is dying out.

Deptford was completely self-sufficient at that time; you could earn a good wage

here and live well. There were lots of families living here, there was Marks &

Spencer's, Woolworth's and other good shops, and the High Street was always full

of people.

The shipyards used to be really busy and we used to jump across the barges and

nick sardines off the ships when we were kids.

My grandfather would buy ill ponies off the Russian ships. He'd get them well and

walk them to Wales to sell them. People used to walk in those days.

The amalgamation with Lewisham in the 1970s changed Deptford completely. The

'good people' were moved out and the houses were pulled down, with new highrise

buildings built for 'bad people' from all areas to move in. This turned Deptford

into a dangerous place in which you had to learn to survive.

People had guns, you couldn't look people in the eye, and you would never tell a

girl that you're from Deptford. People built tunnels to burgle - some of these still

exist - and burglaries took place every day. The days were so bad, I still have

nightmares. I've seen things that I can never tell. I needed years to be able to look

people in the eyes again.


Deptford never really recovered but it's nothing compared to what it used to

be like. What was normal then would be seen as horrendous now. Maybe

all the new development will give Deptford the chance to rise out of its ashes and

become what it once was - a well­to-do area.

A typical Saturday when I was a kid: my mum used to drag us down here on a bus.

We'd do a bit of shopping, go for breakfast off the High Street, do more shopping,

and then take a cab back to Sidcup. There used to be a guy at the market who sold

fruit and veg, and what I remember about him is, this is 36 years ago, that he kept

shouting "10 pence is 2 bob and 2 bob is 10 pence."

It used to be so lively here but now, like all London markets, it's gone a bit dead.

There is no variety - there are about 30 hairdressers, lots of food joints of

the same kind. Everything is the same. You used to be able to buy clothes here from

really good stalls and independent shops, but not now. In the past, the council

used to check how many shops of each kind there already were and would stop any

more from coming in if there were enough.

Deptford High Street has changed so much, it's unreal. Off the High Street there

were all these parallel streets with houses and three pubs on each street, then they

were knocked down - in the 70s I think. The market used to stretch from the

beginning of Douglas Way down to New Cross train station but this must have

changed when they built the current Albany and the McMillan Park. Lady Albany

built the original Albany in an attempt to get the 'gut girls' away from their work in

the 'gutting sheds' and teach them some manners, as she objected to women

having to do such work.


Manze's Pie and Mash



F.A. Albin & Sons - Funeral Directors


St Paul's Church


Business in Deptford was much better in the past. On a Saturday they used to have

13 people working in the butcher's, now they have two. It used to take up to 20

minutes to go down the busy High Street by bus. Now, the buses go down Church

Street, and there are less people on the High Street.

I started as a Saturday boy in a butcher's in the 70s. It was so busy at that time, the

queue started at 7am and we were busy till the end of the day. We sold horse meat

in those days. The Arches behind the High Street had a ramp where cows were

walked from the trains straight to the butcher's.

If people need something I haven't got, I'll get it for them. I've done that for years

and it has worked for me. Nothing much has changed - I still have the same

customers and their children and grandchildren.

Deptford is my livelihood and it's the friendliest place in the world - I genuinely

mean it. Maybe even too friendly sometimes as it puts people off when everyone

talks to you. But I've had a lot foreign students live in the space upstairs and I said

to them: "Give it two weeks and you'll love it". And they always did. We've never

had any trouble.

Deptford is not more dangerous than other

places. There might be one group of bad

people who are responsible for most of the

crime, and because they commit one crime

after another, the number of crimes is really

high. So people think that everyone is bad,

but actually it's just a few people.


Years ago there were about thirty pubs on the High Street - just around here, one

little spot, there were seven. But they couldn't build a pub on the Salvation Army

premises because it used to be a Quaker's burial ground and you can't build pubs

or breweries on Quaker ground. Now there are only two pubs left on the High

Street but you can still see some pub signs above shops. Now we've got about seven

thousand hairdressers and the betting shops.

There is lots of history in Deptford - the oldest building is next door, Johnny's DIY

from the 1700s I think, and the first murder solved by fingerprints happened down

the road; that was revolutionary.

I've met a lot of Russians ... the Tsar of Russia lived here ... I remember when the

Russians gave up, when Gorbachev was leader, a Russian submarine docked at

Deptford and a Russian was walking down the street. He was dirty and didn't know

if it was safe to be here, but he asked me if I wanted to buy a bottle of vodka off

him. I said no.

I came here in 1987 and learnt English by myself because I couldn't go to school. I

always went to the market every d ay and asked stallholders "What is that?" At the

beginning I'd ask: "Can I buy a pig?" and people laughed - not at me but just

because it was funny that somebody asked for a whole pig instead of pork.

Deptford is a good place, it's ok at night, I've never had any trouble. I know lots of

people now and Terry is a good guy, he taught me to say 'How much'. I've had 6

kids at Tidemill's with good teachers and no trouble. I'm definitely st ay ing here. I

don't mind the changes, that's how society works, if there are jobs and apartments

for people then why not?


Harley's Flowers


Bearspace


Johnny's DIY & Building Supplies


Cut Price Carpets


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Shoe Repair/ Nightingale Pharmacy/ Gallop Café/ The Waiting Room


There are a lot of good things here if you look for them, but many people just look

at the negative things. Deptford is a great place but, of course, with some problems

which actually come from the council. The housing is a big problem. I used to

work in an estate agency and I know how it works. The government houses all

people from the same group (ethnic background, social status, etc.) in the

same area, and of course, these communities get bigger. Then the council blame

these people for having a closed community and for not integrating themselves.

There are a lot of misunderstandings among people because there isn't enough

communication and information.

I've been in Deptford for 7 years and my mother has got a store which sells fruit

and veg. I'm familiar with the market here, I'm used to trading, and if you know

people and they know you, they will buy your stuff. It's also about keeping things

local, my mum recruits local people and I recruit locals. You have to support the

local community.

If the choice is an empty shop or Tesco, then

it is better to have a Tesco, because if they

invest here, others might be inspired to open

a business. Certainly, there is the risk of local

businesses dying out, but the best solution is

for all to work together to form an even

stronger community.

We need parking spaces! We've lost clientele due to the lack of parking. We've

been here for 25 years and have no place to park. We don't even have a

loading/unloading zone, there is nowhere, it's a real problem.


Kids Love Ink


The Waiting Room


RagN Bone


I arrived in Deptford early 1977 and knew I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I

lived in Speedwell House, which was given to Goldsmith's to rent out to students

for a low price. It was a good council block but we had no bathroom - there were

counters in the kitchen with lids on and under the lid was the bath. So, you'd be

having a bath while someone was cooking. Squeeze and Dire Straits used to play

around here before they became famous. But Speedwell House became infamous

because of two murders, and the council wanted to raze it to the ground without

rehousing the students. We prepared for war, even looking up recipes for Molotov

cocktails, we were so angry. The council got wind of it and rehoused everyone to

the Crossfield estate, where I still live.

Maybe the community was stronger in the past - we tried to get people together,

had anti-racist gigs and fought for integration. My political views are very much

shaped by what I saw in Deptford. I know it's not all happy here, but Deptford is

earthy, it's real, and I feel far removed from the real world when I'm in a leafy

neighbourhood.

When you said to people you were living in Deptford, they'd say "Blimey! How can

you live in such a place?" But I wasn't afraid - in those days I'd sometimes walk to

the bottom of the High Street to use the phone box at lam. I got burgled three

times, and I knew a lot of people who were up to no good. But now I wouldn't

walk alone at night anywhere because the nature of the violence has changed.

People don't just nick things, they kick you in the jaw for fun. The mentality of this

generation is drink, drugs and violence. I mean we took drugs but we did it

together, listened to reggae and talked about politics and how to change the

world. Maybe I see it all through rose-coloured spectacles.


Cafe Selecta was the first place where you could get a cappuccino, I remember it

was really exciting to be able to get that on the High Street. The first arty cafe with

exhibitions was at the top of the High Street and then The Bear Cafe took over.

Deptford evolved with the art movement, and the transformation of Creekside

brought about the train cafe. You never used to see people like the ones you see

now in the train cafe.

Art is a special act that happens occasionally, and benefits very few people. The

amount of money spent on the creative industry is a waste of money - all this

money could pave the street in marble. Instead, it's spent on creative events and

salaries to make the area arty, but art should be its own seed. I also feel that the

workshops under the arches behind the train cafe create a false sense of hope for

young kids. They are made to believe that the creative industry is an easy way to

become successful.

We need to work together, including the new art scene because whilst Deptford is

known for it, it is very hidden away and is geared towards a small percentage of

people. It doesn't really involve people and artists who have lived in Deptford for

many years, and is therefore not so much part of the Deptford community.

The train cafe helped us a lot. It attracts a nice

young crowd who come venturing in and this

has brought a bit of life back. We need a

couple of more places like the train cafe.

Social Centre Plus

There's an underground art scene and some

think it'll be another Shoreditch, but it won't

because people will make sure to keep it as it is.


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Deptford Market


I've been to other High Streets in different areas, but as soon as I came here I

noticed that it was different - I had the feeling of stepping back in time. People

stand on street corners engaging with each other, they all know one another.

Deptford is different from most areas where the normal juxtaposition is a nice road

with houses and a council estate at the end of it. Here almost everyone lives in a

flat or a council estate, and this puts things into perspective as all people are on

the same level. I was brought up on a nice road in a nice house in North

London (and proud of it), but now I love living in a flat in Deptford.

Deptford High Street is heaven, there is something for everybody. I like to spread

myself around to see what places have got. They only thing I don't like are the

beggars, simply because the same people keep coming up to me asking for money.

It gets annoying after a while.

I don't like cities, they have no feeling, so what I like about here is that I don't feel

I'm living in London. Everything is on my doorstep and I can choose to access it or

ignore it. It might be the same in other areas, but I came here and feel it here.

The best thing about Deptford is the rapport and personal relationships I have

built up with customers and families over the years.

What I like is that I know people around here. I live on the High Street, and I

know my neighbours, people in the shops, and I find the nice collection of

shouting on the street calming. I actually find it difficult to leave, it's got everything

I need.


I feel like an outsider in my own place. The old generations have moved out, the

younger generation sees things differently, and I just don't feel at home here

anymore.

Since coming under Lewisham Council, Deptford has gone downhill. There

are supposed to be restrictions like the use of open-grid shutters and the

pavement space outside your shop - if it's not yours you can't use it unless you pay.

But most shops use completely closed shutters, which makes the area look like a

ghost town at night, and shops just put some fruit and veg outside their shops even

though it's illegal. And the council just accepts it, they're only interested in the

money - if another bookie or butcher wants an empty shop, they can have it and

do what they want.

I don't like the new development, I'm a bit old-fashioned. I also think it's wrong

that so much money gets spent on new buildings. Why don't they look after

existing buildings and make the place look nice. We never get any money, all the

other places in Lewisham look nice but not Deptford.

There are too many betting shops and often their customers are drunk and angry.

These places rob people of their money. People complain about the fact that big

businesses (like Tesco) are destroying small, local business, but nobody seems to

realise that betting shops are nothing other than big businesses. I'm quite upset

that the Deptford Arms has been converted into another betting shop.

We need nicer places on the High Street - nicer cafes, restaurants, family places so

I can take my partner and kids somewhere nice. I don't want to sit in the chicken

places with my family. I'd go out here if there was somewhere to go like a wine bar.


COD Father's / The Egg Shop


Christie's Pork/ Deptford Market


Landis fruit seller


Heel Bar


Café Bianca/ John Price's shop


Community is a funny old word; the creative community is looking after each

other, they exchange information. There is a sense of community all together -

different socio-economic backgrounds don't matter here.

Deptford is not a transitory place; people generally stay and want to share their

cultures. There are no tensions here between the international cultures; it's just

that many newcomers and the property developers don't really contribute to the

communities.

Deptford has this community feeling due to

the market which is at the core of its vibe.

Sadly, there is the danger of getting rid of the

market as High Street shops are complaining

of little business.

Deptford has a damaged, broken up community. On a Saturday morning, when the

sun is shining, you have the middle-class on the terrace of the train cafe reading the

Guardian - that's one side of Deptford. But the night is quite different.

People say there is a great mixture here, but communities are living in isolation.

Down at my end of the High Street I constantly hear Chinese, but where are the

different sectors of communities in the local meetings? There are only always white

people. There needs to be more engagement.

When I first arrived, there was such a nice mix of cultures and a real sense of

belonging and community. Now it's just pockets of closed communities, and the

High Street is without a community. It's a real problem for older British people -

all the pubs are gone and they have nowhere to go.


The poverty of Deptford is the poverty of relationships. Decisions about Deptford

are made by non-locals; changes come from outside influences. Who wanted

the monstrous new school? Deptford people need to get organised, change has to

come from below. They have to work more closely and focus on things that unite

and not separate them. There are too many isolated voices!

There've been hundreds of years full of fierceness, as one guy once said to me: "The

thing about Deptford is you can't tame it." But the organised fierceness, anarchy

and radicalism has got lost, now people are just angry, and local 'politics' are at a

low ebb. People need to rediscover collective action that talks about things in a

community we all want to be in.

I'm a realist - I don't see things better or make them worse than they are. What I

want to say is that Deptford is an amazing place - there is not one perspective to

sum it up. It attracts people but when they say "I love it, it's great" I ask "What do

you really think?" and they admit it's a shithole. But there is truth in both. I always

look for the good, but we have to be truthful. We need more honesty, truth and

democracy, and to listen to each other would be a good start.

I get trouble every day from the youth and I have to resist them otherwise they'll

just rob the whole place. I have to be rude and on my guard all the time, it's not

like me at all. Sometimes when there's a fight outside, a couple of youths come in

to protect themselves because they know I've got police cameras here. But the

police can't do much - they try to do their best but there should be heavier police

presence here. They just seem to look after the other end of the High Street, but

here, they just drive past.


Roots Fruit & Veg


Halal Butchers


Flower stall on market days


I love Deptford and I would never move away from here. This is where my roots

are. Many people who were born here but have moved away to Sidcup, for

example, come back to Deptford to be buried here. It's strange, but people come

back to die, and at funerals I often meet people who I have known for a long time

and whose family members we have buried. Deptford has such a close-knit

community and when someone from Deptford dies, especially people from my

generation (I am 58 this year), there are a lot of people at the funeral. And then we

reminisce about the past, we see the past through rose-coloured spectacles.

Deptford people are different, they have the community feeling instilled in them,

and I can tell you that all the Deptford people from my generation will tell you the

same. If you'd done something bad as a kid, by the time you'd get home you'd get a

dig off your mum because someone had seen you and grassed you up - everyone

knew each other. Deptford still has this close-knit community; it's just that the

place has changed so much.

In the past, we used to have a bobby on the beat who'd come in for a cup of tea

and who made sure no-one misbehaved. Now, there is no police around at all,

especially not down this end of the High Street. The High Street is like two

separate places and down here there is absolutely nothing. There used to be a lovely

flower shop and a nice butcher's down here, also an Italian cafe with good homemade

food, and a pram shop with lovely baby-wear. The whole High Street used to

be a busy, vibrant street full of characters.

You didn't use to be able to sell the same stuff the shop next door sold, but now

there is no law and order and a thousand and one hairdressers. I understand that

change is necessary, but good change! We need good change! I still love Deptford,

I'd never live anywhere else, but I wish I could turn the clock back.


People who don't complain about Deptford are people who are not from here,

don't live here, or are shop owners - they don't know what it's like, they don't

understand. The users of the market are older people, the unemployed - people

with the least amount of money. That's why pound shops and the cheap shops sell

here, people can't afford anything else. There is such a high percentage of

unemployment here as well and the job centre closed - I mean it's unreal! My son

has to go to Catford to try and get a job. The reason why the pubs have closed

down is because people can't afford to pay £3 for a pint of beer, especially when

they can get 6 cans for 2 pounds in the shop. Women don't feel comfortable going

to pubs by themselves because you never know what's going to happen.

The development around Deptford has worked in some way but not in others. The

top end has always had boozers hanging around because Carrington House used to

be behind Noodle King. It was a kind of hostel for people with little money

and you had to be there at a certain time otherwise you wouldn't get in. That's

been turned into luxury homes and has left no place for the other people

with no money.

Rent prices are going up, but people bury their heads in the sand and hope for the

best. I'm the sole earner in my household, the rent's going up £10, I can

just about afford that, but other people ... ? And then they invest £3,000,000 in the

new train station development, why so much money? It's only so they can

put Deptford on the tourist map, not for local people, and with it

they're erasing another bit of Deptford history by destroying the ramps at

the back which they used to bring live cattle to the butcher's. They're also building

this new school that people won't be able to afford.


Corner Juice Bar (Tandoori Express)


Chinese Medicine


Peter &Joan


The Train Café


The Deptford Project - Train Café


We didn't have much money when we were young and sometimes we had to go

and rob a big store - you'd never steal from a small shop-owner or mug anyone.

We'd fill a shopping trolley and ask the people in the store if we could leave it

there. Then, after their shift was over and the new staff had come in, we'd go and say

"We' re just collecting our stuff' and leave without paying. We pushed it to the

limits, but we had to because we had to survive. I have 6 kids and when the giro

hadn't come through because someone else had got hold of it or the postman

hadn't put it through the door, or you'd forgotten to get a new benefit book, you

knew you'd be without money for a month. You could have a tab in the shops

because they knew you but once it reached £5 pound you couldn't get any more.

The shop-owners knew they wouldn't get the money because they knew you didn't

have it, so they set the limit at that, but only because they knew who you were. You

couldn't do that today. But when you had no money and you needed baby milk and

nappies, we had to rob the shop. We didn't do it often, just every 6 months or so,

and we were very careful. But at the same time you weren't afraid of getting booked

because you knew all the Bobbies and in those days, when you had to spend a night

at the station, you'd get a cup of tea and an egg sandwich in the morning. That

wasn't so bad. I got arrested once because I just swung my leg and the local Bobby

thought I was going to kick the shop window in. I tried to explain but it was no

use. Their motto at the time was "get them young and that'll sort them out for the

future". Another time I got arrested when we'd had a big night out and were

pissed and just sat down on the street because we couldn't walk anymore. Instead of

walking us home the 50m like they'd do today, they just arrested us. The big

shops don't lose anything by you robbing them, so that wasn't so bad. But you

would never ever steal from a local person, or a small shop-owner, never! There

were no muggings in those days, or gun crime. Only the big fish had guns and

you wouldn't go near them, but it was always just fists - that was the rule in a

one-on-one fight, no tools. Not like now!


You'd never mug anyone because if you did you'd be sure that someone would

find out and you'd be killed for that, especially for harming an older person. The

older people were respected at that time - they'd been through so much and

they'd know so many people and you didn't know what kind of contacts they

had - could have been to the Krays or other big fish and you could be sure

you'd be found out. Someone I know was arrested once and was put in a cell

with someone who'd mugged an older woman - the police had to clean up

the blood after that from the cell. But now, there's no respect, people don't

know each other so well anymore, don't talk to each other, don't know who

lives next door. I still know lots of people, the people who work in some of the

shops now are the children of the previous shop-owners, the children who I've

known since they were little. Some of them went to school with my kids. I

am a very loyal customer, I go to the same shops I've been going for years and I

know I could go somewhere else, but they've been kind to me all these years and if

they don't have something I need, they'll get it for me - that wouldn't

work in other shops. They were good days, you had to be tough and I was very

bolshie, but you had to deal with a lot of things.

Growing up in Deptford was great; we played

outside in the streets, knew all the neighbours

and looked out for each other. Now we have

gangs with kids I've known since they were in

their nappies, but that doesn't protect you

anymore like it used to. Old people are too

scared to go out nowadays as the gangs

congregate outside their homes because they

know the old people are too scared to kick

off. There is not enough police around.


Terry's Discount


Our Lady of the Assumption


Deptford Train Station


Deptford has this real market culture; some people don't understand the concept

'shop'. They don't think that clothes have price labels so they grab a lot of stuff,

dump it on the counter and ask how much it is. They start haggling because they

are used to trading. They don't understand that things are priced. Once it came to

£65 but the customer must have understood more as he then offered me £70.

When I told him that he can pay 70 if he wants to but that the price is 65, he

started haggling for less. I told him that he had just been willing to pay 70 but

realised that this wasn't the point. He just didn't want to pay full price. It's so

funny sometimes, but I've become a bit of a 'shop snob'.

The development around Deptford is good - it makes it look nicer. We need more

bigger-name shops like Tesco - everyone was happy to have a big name on the High

Street. We need to move the traffic away from the market area, there is too much

clutter. I think there will be money to improve the High Street - what's the point

of putting up the new school and doing up the train station and not making the

rest of it look nicer? We should maintain the place and be proud of where we're

from - we all want to live in a nice place.

People have changed; now they go to shopping

centres were everything is in one place and

were they can park. On the High Street, there

didn't used to be parking restrictions but now

you get a ticket straight away and it costs £40-

50. The specialist shops will survive - people

don't go to a shopping centre just to have a

key cut, they do that when walking past here -

but small grocery stores might die out.

On market day


Deptford Plaza


Deptford Plaza


A & S Hairdressing Salon


Deptford itself is not my home; home is where my family is. I've got a degree, I've

travelled the world, but after 5 years overseas I thought that's enough life

experience and I got homesick. So, I came to where my parents are, and that's here.

It's great to work with my family, we work hard - our parents taught us to - but I

am very happy here, happy to be with my family.

There is a sense of community in Deptford as everyone knows everyone, but

communities aren't integrated, especially the older generation. You can notice an

overlap in the younger people who are ignoring cultural barriers. There are more

interracial marriages and gradually, generation by generation, communities will be

more integrated.

It's a nice mixture, from one extreme to another; there is also the extremes of the

classes. When we came here 14 years ago, Deptford was a very strong working class

area and over the years it has become hipper. The housing development all around

has made it more populated which is good for business, but also creates

tensions between the white middle-class on one side, and the working class mixture

of races on the other side.

There are always people with more money who have other opportunities, and that's

why it's never going to be just one community. Especially the generation now in

their late 20s early 30s - if they have money they'll send their kids to private

schools, not state schools around here.

I like Deptford - there are people from all ethnic backgrounds and anyone can be

who they want to be. It's a nice mix of people who are very friendly and helpful. I

am from Nigeria and I can buy all the Nigerian food on the High Street, it's great.


SEDONIE HALL

===--===---

WWWI

PROFESSIONAL SALON

177

C

Sedonie Hall



Goddard's Pie and Mash



Sewing Machine Centre



As a priest you are sent to a place, it's not a matter of choice. Five years ago, the

Bishop phoned and sent me to Deptford. I didn't know anything about Deptford,

so I sneaked into mass and sat in the back row, looked around and thought: "This

is where I'm going". The first impression of the High Street wasn't good but my

motto is: Bloom where you are planted. It wasn't an accident or a coincidence that

I came here. God uses different instruments to administer, and I've come to serve

the Lord.

It's an interesting and challenging place with a multicultural congregation. It's one

thing to work amidst your own people, but to minister to people you don't know,

people from all different areas, countries with different languages and cultures, and

the sensitivity that goes with it, is a challenge.

Deptford is a huge melting pot with multiculturalism which actually works - that's

the amazing thing; it works here which makes it a good role model. Everyone has

different ideas which add to the area, which make it unique. Deptford is about the

people, they are wonderful, they are the salt of the earth. Deptford is brilliant, but

they don't put enough money into it. If a bit of development went into it, it could

be a better place. Deptford has changed, but you know, time doesn't stand still,

and you should always look forward. It's not all bad in Deptford - we set up our

business here and have expanded to Maidstone due to the success here in

Deptford. We invest in new technology and a lot goes on in this shop. I've

employed a local guy, a guy who was born and bred here, so I'm making an effort

to keep the money in Deptford. We also supply all schools in the area. People need

to know that it's positive here in Deptford, you can find new technology of the

highest standard and can have a successful business.


West Lake -Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine



www.an1tastrasser.com

anitastrasser@gmail.com


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